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OUTDOORS: A female trapper I once knew ...

Years ago, I used to travel to Itasca County, Minn., for its prime fishing.

We fished Bowstring, Leech, Fawn and Graves lakes. I met a young lady up there who identified herself as Bemundie. It was easier to remember her as Little Fawn. She lived in the Red Lake area, which was known as Sioux Indian Territory. One had to be invited to set foot on their land.

I learned that she was a trapper, and we hit it off. I was invited to her home near lower Red Lake. She told me about trapping beaver, mink, fisher and wolverine. She wasn’t very big but very strong. I was still amazed at how she could skin these animals with ease.

She occasionally had visitors and explained how some of the young white girls used to shriek in horror when they watched her skin a pine martin. This was probably due to lack of exposure to such things. In other words, the modern disconnect with nature. I fondly recall the kids from the elementary school stopping by while I skinned my catch. The girls made yucky noises while watching me, but they always stopped by the next day.

Little Fawn had several sled dogs that she used to run her trapline. They were attached to a very fine homemade sled. I’m sure if she is still alive she probably uses a snowmobile today.

She was a fine fisherperson as well. She actually carved many lures out of white birch and balsam, and they worked like a charm in the water. She showed me some that were easily destroyed by northern pike and musky.

I have often thought of her during my trapping season and wished I had her address. I would write to her for sure and again try to compare notes.

Hope she is still OK.

Fishing report

Cooling-lake action is very good on La Salle Lake when we are allowed to launch boats. We traveled to Braidwood Lake last Thursday. This is the largest of the local cooling lakes. Catfish, bluegill and black bass were all hitting. I put my companions on live bait to ensure that they would catch fish, and they had a lot of fun,

La Salle Lake is still the best of the three. Catches of 50 or more bluegill and small channel catfish are the norm on this body of water. A bonus catch of hybrid striped bass is always a possibility at La Salle. Last Saturday, I hit a school of large blue catfish. We caught about 20, most weighing about 2 1/2 pounds apiece.

Heidecke Lake in Grundy County is like fishing the dead sea. I spent about four hours over there about a week ago and only caught one catfish. There were a lot of boats on the lake, but I didn’t see any anglers pull anything in. My new vessel with the center counsel will not make it under the center, dike bridge, so I don’t know how the north side of the lake would have been.

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